As Minnesota United prepares for its inaugural Major League Soccer season, it has announced defender Kevin Venegas as one of its first Major League Soccer signings. Venegas has spent his entire professional career with Minnesota, signing with the club in 2012.
“I've been wanting to bring my style of play to Major League Soccer for as long as I can remember,” said an excited Venegas. “I'm very appreciative that Minnesota has invested in me and supplied me with a home from NASL to now MLS. It has been a priority in my mindset going into the gym, practice, game or any competition since day 1. I'm not nervous, I'm excited to make the jump! I know it will be a challenge but that's what I live for! I have some decent experience now, but I feel a new energy, at age 27 I'm a rookie and a vet.”
Venegas has been a star player for Minnesota as both a midfielder and defender in five years with the club. He has been the top playmaker with 17 career assists, a club record, and has found the back of the net himself 7 times. Venegas brings a special flair to the field, with a knack to beat defenders with incredible footwork. His box-to-box play as a right back earned him a spot in the 2015 NASL Best XI.
“Kevin is extremely gifted athletically, he has great footwork,” said Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath. “He’s got the experience and now he has the chance to play at the next level. He has the ability to play and we are confident he can make the step up.”
The California-native played his college ball with Cal State Fullerton, where he was a standout midfielder scoring 16 goals and providing 11 assists. He also played with Orange County Blue Star in 2010, a team that has produced several Loons players in the past. Venegas was drafted 37th overall in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft by Chivas USA, but was not signed by the club.
After leaving Chivas in 2012, Venegas signed with Minnesota as the team began its NASL season. Venegas announced himself to the soccer world with a wonder-goal, and eventual game-winner, in his third appearance for the club. He continued to earn time as a midfielder, but transitioned to defender and became a regular in the Loons lineup. Though he took on a more defensive role, it did not deter Venegas’ attacking play. He scored key goals for Minnesota, including the opening strike en route to beating Real Salt Lake 3-1 on the road in the 2012 U.S. Open Cup.
“It’s incredibly exciting news, we have a young man who has been here his entire professional career and has dedicated himself to helping this club grow,” said Minnesota United sporting director Manny Lagos.
At a press event earlier this week Minnesota United named Adrian Heath as the club’s first MLS head coach. Heath, along with sporting director Manny Lagos and director of player personnel Amos Magee will continue to build its roster ahead of the 2017 MLS season with further signings, the 2016 Expansion Draft, Re-Entry Draft, and 2017 MLS SuperDraft.
Be there when Minnesota takes the field for the first time in MLS by securing your season tickets today. Call 763.4SOCCER or visit MNUFC.COM to guarantee your seats today and learn more about the benefits of being a season ticket holding member of the Itasca Society.